Walt Disney World is a fun family destination with endless possibilities. However, the pressure to have the time of your life in the “Most Magical Place On Earth” can get tough. Planning a Disney World trip for your first time is full of challenges. You may not even realize it until you show up completely unprepared. Your vacation should be easy to plan and enjoy. Here are some quick tips, to ensure you get the most out of this awesome destination.

5 Things You Need To Know Before Your First Disney World Vacation

Be Aware of the Peak Seasons

First off, Disney World is in central Florida, which has a climate far from the fair weather norm of its California predecessor. While there is not a full fledged off season, there are times when the weather is typically cooler, or insufferably hot.  There are also weeks or months throughout the year when attendance is predictably lower than the rest of the year.  These are late January/Early February, Late February/Early March, August, and October/Early November.  There are also Days of the week when specific parks have higher relative attendance due to Extra Magic Hours.

Disney World Transportation

Disney World is huge. You will have options of getting around, but don’t count on walking anywhere. The parks and resorts are huge and you will get your exercise there, but for getting from point A to point be, you can either drive a car, use Disney’s free transportation, or use a rideshare app.

Disney operates an internal bus system that goes from anywhere to just about anywhere else.  Besides which, there are ferries within the Disney Springs, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom Resort areas, and a monorail system that connects Epcot with Magic Kingdom and three Deluxe Magic Kingdom resorts (Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian).

The free transportation is great, but it can take a while to get where you are going.  Driving yourself is an option if you are a local or rent a car and don’t mind paying for parking the whole trip. I have found it convenient, fast, reliable, and relatively inexpensive to take Uber. But keep in mind that you cannot get an Uber from the airport to Disney World.

Disney Dining Plan

When you book your vacation online, you will be offered a Disney Dining Plan that correlates to whichever tier of resort you chose (value, moderate, deluxe). These plans are not designed to save you money. More often than not guests with the dining plan are left scrambling to get their money’s worth and end up purchasing more than they normally would, or eating what they otherwise wouldn’t because it’s “the better value.”  If you are on a budget the only time to take the Plan is when Disney includes it for free with your vacation package.  Those special dates are announced at the end of April each year.

We have never gotten the dining plan because my kids are over 10 years old and we would have to pay the adult price for them. It just isn’t worth it. Instead, we stick to eating cheap while we are there.

Schedule time to Rest

One big Mistake Most first timers make is trying to do too much and not giving themselves a chance to relax and recharge. Taking at least one day off between the four parks is really important to your enjoyment of the Disney World environment. It also gives you an opportunity to explore your resort or visit others.

Use My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience is the app you will use for securing dining reservations (180 days prior to   check in) Fastpass+ (60 days prior to check in) and get up to the minute info on wait times and available fast passes while in the park. You can also manage your photos, use mobile order at select eateries, access your itinerary and more. It’s indispensable.

Do you have a tip for someone’s 1st time at Disney World? Leave your tip in the comments below!

5 Things You Need to Know Before your 1st Disney vacation

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Get Travel Insurance

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex or Safety Wing (often cheaper).

Book Flights

I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner!

Book a Place to Stay

I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.

If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.

Rent Clothes

Rent clothes for your trip with Travel Style Expert for only $50 a month! The first 30 days are free!

Choose Activities and Tours

To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available. Groupon also tends to have a lot of local travel deals.

When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals. If I am going somewhere in Mexico or the Caribbean I use Apple Vacations.

Rent a Car or Take a Lyft

More often than not Lyft is cheaper than Uber. Use my Lyft link for an $18 credit! For a car rental in any country, I recommend Hertz or Discover Cars.

Save Money on Gas

Upside, a free app gets you cash back on gas! Use promo code RV2Q2 to get an extra 15¢/gal bonus on your first purchase.

Get a Visa

I use iVisa to get all of my Visas.

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